James Hinchcliffe not turning nose up at seventh despite pole

INDIANAPOLIS -- After starting the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 from pole position and leading 27 laps, James Hinchcliffe couldn't help but feel disappointed by a seventh place finish.

He consoled himself by comparing it to where he was a year ago at this time.

"Is seventh what we were hoping for? No," he said after Sunday's race, according to the Indianapolis Star. "But is it better than laying in a hospital bed? Yes. So, everything's relative."

Hinchcliffe sustained life-threatening injuries on May 18, 2015 when a component failure caused his car to crash and a suspension arm pierced his pelvic area. He missed the rest of the 2015 season.

Coming off a season-best third-place finish in the recent Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the 29-year-old Canadian secured the first pole of his Verizon IndyCar Series career in a thrilling Indy 500 qualifying session.

He was extremely competitive in the first half Sunday but lost the handling of the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda later as conditions became hotter than expected.

Rookie Alexander Rossi parlayed a fuel mileage strategy into a surprise victory.

"It was really just track temperatures that caught us out there," Hinchcliffe said. "We started losing grip as the temperatures came up late in the afternoon and the last two stints were a real struggle when we tried to make the tires last.

"Realistically, I think we had a third- or fourth-place effort today, which is nothing to turn your nose up at."